After a steady beginning, the year is gradually coming to an end with many religious and social activities scheduled to bid farewell to 2019. Two major activities on the calendar around this period are Christmas, which marks the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and New Year, which is celebrated to usher in a fresh year. The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) takes this opportunity to wish all Ghanaians, especially journalists and media practitioners, Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year.
As we commemorate these significant occasions and undertake various social events to round off the year, we wish to caution all to celebrate and/or act in moderation, knowing that there is life to live for tomorrow as well. We, therefore, urge the general public to be self-disciplined and eschew lawlessness in whatever they may do or wherever they may be within this festive period. Whilst making merry, we should also reflection soberly on the past, the present and the future with the view to living a better life by making amends for our shortfalls and reinforcing our achievements. We should appreciate the fact that the New Year holds many opportunities and challenges, and so it is important to be sober and find means of exploring the opportunities and overcoming the challenges awaiting us in 2020.
Having made a sober reflection on the Year 2019, the GJA wishes to appreciate and commend journalists and media practitioners in Ghana for discharging their constitutionally mandated watchdog role very effectively and efficiently. There is no doubt that the inky fraternity in Ghana have made significant impact in every sphere of national development in the year under review. From political, economic, educational and environmental issues to corruption, social and cultural matters, the media have discharged their duty rather consciensciously. We say ‘Ayekoo’ to all the gallant men and women of the inky fraternity.
It is, however, regrettable that there are still some elements within the media whose sub-standard practices are detestable and a bane to our noble profession. We shall not flinch in our efforts to purge journalism of such miscreants by flagging them for condemnation and flushing them out of our fold. We shall also continue to organize training programmes for media practitioners in order to ensure high journalistic standards at all times.
Again, as we usher in the New Year, and whilst urging Ghanaians to celebrate the occasion in the most appropriate manner, the GJA reminds all, particularly media practitioners, that 2020 is an election year which will be crucial by every stretch of imagination. We call on all the electoral actors to be committed to the moral tenets of fairness, objectivity, transparency, accountability, tolerance and truthfulness during the electioneering. We must eschew violence-laden acts and pursue peace, unity and harmony with vigour and supplication. We particularly call on political, religious, traditional and opinion leaders to denounce violence anytime it pops up, while urging their followers to stay away from same.
There is no doubt that 2020 will be a very challenging year to the media. That is why we encourage media houses and practitioners to gird their loins and be battle-ready for a successful election in 2020. We have done it before, in the past elections, and we cannot afford to relinquish that enviable record attested to by observers, home and abroad. In that regard, the media must always remain independent and neutral, only leaning on the public interest at all times. We urge the media to be bold and fearless in upholding the national interest. Also, the media must never compromise their integrity for any offer because integrity, in the media industry, is priceless.
Once again, we say Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year to journalists and all Ghanaians. May God bless our homeland Ghana; And make our nation great and strong.